Barracks: affordable housing?

Local politians in London want the re-designed Chelsea barracks site to include 50 per cent affordable housing as worries about the future of London's most expensive development site continue…

Westminster Council's Labour councillors are concerned that the £1 billion project will end up being a 'rich man's ghetto'.

They have tabled a motion asking for the Conservative-led council to confirm that a range of housing and leisure facilities will be a condition of planning permission being granted.

The issue will be debated at the next council meeting on July 15. The first application for the redevelopment of the site from owners, Qatari Diar was withdrawn before a planning meeting last month following widespread criticism of the scheme from the Prince of Wales and others.

It has prompted a huge national debate over these kind of schemes and over the intervention of the Prince. Lord Rogers, whose architecture firm Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners designed the project personally criticised the Prince and said he had broken a constitutional understanding by sending a private letter that clearly influenced the decision to withdraw the planning application.

Now Westminster Council is to hold planning workshops involving architects, planning experts, local residents and businesses to determine the future of development in central London following the furore over the Chelsea Barracks site.

The council plans to discuss views, regeneration, affordable housing and sustainable design in the workshops and create a blueprint for future development. The City Management Plan will help determine new policies.

'Anyone who cares about the world around them and where they live and work should attend these workshops. Well thought out buildings lie at the heart of civic life and add to our city and I firmly believe new developments should be places where people want to live, work, bring up their children and relax,' said Robert Davis, council deputy leader.

'I hope that as many people as possible want to take an interest in these workshops and play their part in making Westminster a living city,' he added.

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